LECTURES

2021 - 2022 Season

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Underwater Photographer in School of Fish

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

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Lost Landscapes of Sicily, Italy. Submerged Cities and Ancient Shorelines from Prehistory to the Roman Period

Alba Mazza

AIA-DC Business Meeting: 6:30 pm

Lecture: 7:00 pm

Online via Zoom 

Abstract: Submerged cities and ancient shorelines are two of the most intriguing yet complex topics of investigation in the field of maritime archaeology. Sicily, the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea and one of the richest archaeological regions, offers the ideal setting to help us better understand lost landscapes. Geomorphological changes and environmental dynamics played a fundamental role in shaping the coastal landscape of the island. This, in conjunction with the uninterrupted inhabitation of the majority of the coast since prehistory makes Sicily one of the most interesting regions of the Mediterranean Basin for submerged landscapes research.

This lecture aims to describe such a long-term human-environment interaction in some of the most important coastal settlements of the island: Lipari, Selinunte and Syracuse. Coastal changes and sea level rise significantly impacted how people lived in those communities. A large variety of archaeological evidence has been analyzed, including but not limited to port infrastructures, religious buildings and necropolises. Results indicates that very different approaches were taken by the inhabitants of Sicily in order to cope with environmental hazards. Thanks to this research it has been possible to better understand what were the components of decision-making mechanisms in urban planning as well as the consequences of a poor understanding of the landscape and its management needs. Investigating submerged cities and ancient shorelines of Sicily informed us not only of the island’s lost landscape, but also of future environmental challenges and hazards. Within this context, maritime archaeological research plays a fundamental role in advancing landscape management and helping coastal communities learning from the past.

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

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Ancient graffiti and ancient voices: Culture and communication across Pompeii and Herculaneum

 

Rebecca Benefiel, Washington and Lee University

(Annual Howland Lecturer)

TBA

Online via Zoom 

Abstract:  In the year 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted with devastating force, burying the nearby towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii and effectively wiping them off the map. Yet below the surface, the material remains of the towns were preserved in remarkable detail. While best known for their art and architecture, Pompeii and Herculaneum offer further colorful glimpses of daily life and diverse populations through the thousands of messages written on their walls.

 

This talk confronts this widespread phenomenon of writing on the wall surfaces that was occurring in the first century throughout these ancient sites. From personal prayers to greetings to friends, from popular poetry to the victories of famed gladiators, ancient graffiti repopulate the ancient city for us with the voices of women and men, enslaved and free, residents and visitors, and indeed with staggering numbers of people reading, writing, and engaging in this active mode of communication.

Past 2021-22 Lectures:

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Monday, November 8, 2021

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Death comes to the Theban Sacred Band: Skeletons from the Battle of Chaironeia (338 BC)

 

Maria A. Liston, University of Waterloo

 

7:00 pm

Online via Zoom 

Abstract: The Battle of Chaironeia was a turning point in Greek history. Macedonian forces under the command of Phillip II and his son Alexander defeated a combined Greek force of Athenians, Thebans, and others near the town of Chaironeia, establishing Macedonia dominance over much of the Greek mainland. Anchoring the Greek line on the right was the Theban Sacred Band, an elite military unit consisting of 150 pairs of hoplite soldiers, who were purportedly lovers as well as comrades in arms. Opposite them on the Macedonian left was the cavalry force led by Alexander, then 18 years old. In the course of this decisive defeat of the Greeks, the Theban Sacred Band was almost entirely annihilated. Excavations in the 19th century recovered skeletons of the Theban soldiers interred at a battle monument near the acropolis of Chaironeia. This lecture presents evidence from these skeletons for death on the battlefield and subsequent mutilation of the corpses, and explores the use and efficacy of weapons and armor in ancient warfare.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

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The Never-Ending Challenge: Illicit Trafficking and Destruction of Africa's Cultural Heritage


Prof. George Abungu, Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants

11:00 am

Online via Zoom 

Abstract: This presentation discusses the looting, destruction and illicit trafficking of Africa's cultural heritage that is rampart to the present, provides reasons for the never-ending challenges, and proposes some actions that are required to address this vice.

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

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Hidden Lives: Social Marginalization in the Ancient Greek World

 

Carrie Sulosky Weaver, University of Pittsburgh

 

7:00 pm

Online via Zoom 

Abstract: Studies of the ancient Greek world have typically focused on the life histories of elite males as they have made the most distinct mark on ancient Greek literature, art, and material culture. As a result, the voices of non-Greeks, the physically impaired, the impoverished, and the generally disenfranchised have been silent, which has substantially complicated the creation of a historical narrative of these marginalized groups.

In order to reconstruct societal attitudes toward marginalized peoples, my broader project considers the skeletal remains and burial contexts of the individuals themselves and interprets them within the context of contemporary literary, visual, and material evidence. Using this approach, new light is shed on groups of individuals who were typically relegated to the periphery of Greek society in the Late Archaic and Classical periods. 

 

Focusing on evidence pertaining to disabled and physically impaired individuals, this talk argues that intersectionality was the driving factor behind social marginalization in the Late Archaic and Classical Greek world.

For previous lecture seasons, click here.

All lectures are free and open to the public